15 June 2015

Tokyo/Kawaji Onsen Dec 2014 Part I - Shibuya, Tsukiji Market

To hubby and I, Japan is like a must-go destination, at least once a year. And so we did! Managed to squeeze a short 5D4N trip in December last year, even with an onsen stay at Kawaji, to boot!

Since our stay was so short, we had to maximise our time efficiently. Took a red-eye flight into Narita so that we could reach in the morning with a full day ahead; and took a night flight back to SG likewise. Both of us knew the place well, knew what we wanted, so no time wasted at all.

Our itinerary went something like this:
Day 1 - Arrival at Narita Airport, Narita Express to Shibuya, check-in at Shibuya Excel Tokyu, Tsukiji Market, Kappabashi, Shibuya
Day 2 - Check-out, Shinjuku for lunch, Limited Express train to Kawaji Onsen, check-in at KAI Kawaji
Day 3 - After breakfast, check-out and travel back to Shinjuku, shopping around Shinjuku, check-in at Shibuya Excel Tokyu, Shibuya
Day 4 - Little Pie Factory at Hiroo, Arisugawa Park, Shibuya
Day 5 - Jiyuugaoka, Aoyama, flight back to SG

Actually this was my first time taking the Narita Express from the airport to the city area. Usually we would take the airport limousine bus that takes us directly to our hotel. But I wanted to try something different this time, and also because we had the JR Kanto Area Pass which covers the fare for Narita Express.

We bought the pass and also booked the train tickets at the Narita Airport JR East Travel Service Centre.

Basically this is a consecutive 3-day pass for unlimited rides using reserved seats on Shinkansen, limited express and other regular trains in Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto area.

The pass cost 8300 yen per person, which is value-for-money because a one-way ticket on board Narita Express is 3190 yen and two-way limited express train to/fro Kinugawa Onsen is 8000 yen. That's already savings of  3490 yen (and not forgetting the JR Yamanote line which we use quite often when traveling within Tokyo).

We reached the Shibuya Excel Tokyu at about 10.30am, which is usually too early for check-in. But the front office offered us an upgrade of room with immediate check-in (couldn't remember how much, maybe 2000-3000 yen) which we gladly took up the offer so that we could freshen up before the intense shopping ahead.

The room was good size with two Queen size beds. For stays in Japan, we usually opt for twin-bedded room rather than a single king bed room because the former room size is much bigger, so we have more room to pack our luggage.

All the usually amenity are provided and somehow squeezed in two couches and two coffee tables.

Standard size bathroom, with a full-size bathtub.

Lovely view! We could see the Yoyogi Park in the horizon.

My favourite crossing of Shibuya.

Night view.

After freshening up, we proceeded to Tsukiji Market, couldn't wait to tuck in to our first sushi meal!

As usual the market was very vibrant with lots of fresh produce from different parts of Japan.

Wish I could buy more stuff back. (Yes I pack grocery and fruits/veg back ok).

Saw some grilled beef, couldn't resist buying a stick for appetiser. Oishii!

Lunch time! There are several sushi restaurants/eateries at Tsukiji market, just walk into any of them. Chances are any of these shops would offer fresher, cheaper and better quality sashimi and sushi than back in SG.

Take your pick from the conveyor belt, or simply shout out your orders to the sushi chefs.

Some of the sushi we ate.

Total damage, 5196 yen. And even with GST, the meal was about S$60 only! This could easily cost us $80-100 back home.

My lovely box of Yuzu from Tsukiji Market! 13pc for 2527yen (~S$28, ~S$2+ each). In SG supermarkets, if lucky to spot, each pc goes for about S$6.50. Lalalalala =D

After Tsukiji Market, I headed to Kappabashi for kitchen and baking stuff whereas hubby proceeded to his favourite fishing tackle shops.

In the evening, we just hanged around at the vibrant Shibuya.

Ate ramen for dinner.

It's damn shiok to eat ramen during winter.

A huge bowl of ramen like this cost less than S$10, the broth was so good!

Not forgetting some gyoza to go along!

After dinner, we went to Tokyu Food Show depachika, which is the basement food hall market. Japan depachika are definitely feasts for the senses and there's so much vibes that made me go high each time I visit.

Since I was still full from dinner, could only take in some ice-cream for dessert. Did I mention before that it's also very shiok to eat ice-cream during winter, especially after a hot bowl of ramen. LOL!

Stay tuned for next post, on Kawaji Onsen!!

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